Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Glucose meter use

Contributor(s): Vetstream Ltd, Dr Linda Fleeman


Portable glucose meter

  • These meters use either electrochemical or photometric methods to generate an electric current after enzymatic oxidation of the glucose molecules in the sample.
  • Typically plasma glucose is estimated after separation of blood cells from plasma.
  • Meters designed for use in humans assume that plasma and erythrocytes each contain 50% glucose. However, in cats the glucose distribution between erythrocytes and plasma is 7% and 93% respectively, and so meters designed for human blood tend to underestimate the true blood glucose concentration in cats. There is also additional bias because cats typically have a lower hematocrit than people.
  • Veterinary glucose meters provide more accurate results for cat blood than those designed for humans and so are recommended for use in veterinary clinics. They also tend to have the advantage of requiring a smaller sample volume.
  • Glucose meters designed for human use are a cheaper option for monitoring blood glucose at home. However, there is variability in the accuracy of different meters for use in cats and so correlation of results from each meter with results from a veterinary diagnostic laboratory is recommended prior to use. Nevertheless, the differences in results from the true blood glucose result are often within clinically acceptable ranges.



  • Rapid 'patient-side' blood glucose result.
  • Requires only a small blood volume.


  • Glucose meters designed for human use give lower results in cats than the true blood glucose concentration.
  • Anemia Hematology: red blood cell count causes falsely high results and so potentially masks hypoglycemia.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Kang M H, Kim D H, Jeong I S et al (2016) Evaluation of four portable blood glucose meters in diabetic and non-diabetic dogs and cats. Vet Q 36 (1), 2-9 PubMed.
  • Mori A, Oda H, Onozawa E et al (2016) Evaluation of portable blood glucose meters using canine and feline pooled blood samples. Pol J Vet Sci 19 (4), 707-713 PubMed.
  • Tauk B S, Drobatz K J, Wallace K A et al (2015) Correlation between glucose concentrations in serum, plasma, and whole blood measured by a point-of-care glucometer and serum glucose concentration measured by an automated biochemical analyzer for canine and feline blood samples. JAVMA 246 (12), 1327-1333 PubMed.
  • Domori A, Sunahara A, Tateno M et al (2014) The clinical utility of two human portable blood glucose meters in canine and feline practice. Vet Clin Pathol 43 (1), 55-62 PubMed.
  • Surman S & Fleeman L M (2013) Continuous glucose monitoring in small animals. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 43 (2), 381-406 PubMed.
  • Dobromylskyj M J & Sparkes A H (2010) Assessing portable blood glucose meters for clinical use in cats in the United Kingdom. Vet Rec 167 (12), 438-442 PubMed.
  • Zeugswetter F K, Rebuzzi L, Karlovits S (2010) Alternative sampling site for blood glucose testing in cats: giving the ears a rest. J Feline Med Surg 12 (9), 710-713 PubMed.
  • Zini E, Moretti S, Tschuor F et al (2009) Evaluation of a new portable glucose meter designed for the use in cats. Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd 151 (9), 448-451 PubMed.
  • Reusch C E, Kley S & Casella M (2006) Home monitoring of the diabetic cat. J Feline Med Surg (2), 119-127 PubMed.
  • Casella M, Wess G, Reusch C E (2002) Measurement of capillary blood glucose concentrations by pet owners: a new tool in the management of diabetes mellitus. JAAHA 38 (3), 239-245 PubMed.
  • Stein J E & Greco D S (2002) Portable blood glucose meters as a means of monitoring blood glucose concentrations in dogs and cats with diabetes mellitus. Clin Tech Small Anim Pract 17 (2), 70-72 PubMed.
  • Wess G & Reusch C (2000) Assessment of five portable blood glucose meters for use in cats. Am J Vet Res 61 (12), 1587-1592 PubMed.
  • Wess G & Reusch C (2000) Capillary blood sampling from the ear of dogs and cats and use of portable meters to measure glucose concentration. J Small Anim Pract 41 (2), 60-66 PubMed.